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DX11 Alternate model format for DX9?

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I'm wondering - what model format is typically used in DirectX 9 (besides the .x format)? From what I've been reading, the support for .x is pretty awful, and Microsoft is even dropping support for the format in DX11. The animator on a project I'm working on can't even get one of his animated models to export to .x, and even when he could on previous versions of the model, there were always issues with them. Yuck! So, I'm guessing that most projects use something besides .x. What alternate formats are commonly used? This is a commercial project, so the format/library used to load them would have to be something non-restrictive for commercial products. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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I would suggest collada (search Google for its specification) or just rolling your own formats.

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DirectX .x files are still fine, I think... after all it's just a file format. The builtin exporters for DirectX models in most modelling applications are awful, though. For 3DSMax I suggest getting the kwXPort plugin, for Maya the CVXporter is doing a good job.

Other formats might still be interesting, though. Especially if the exporters are maintained. I therefore recommend Collada or FBX. Both come with well-maintained exporters for various 3d modelling packages, and both support a basic SDK to read them into your engine. On the loading side the Collada SDK is close to unusable in my opinion, FBX seems better.

That said, there's a generic model loader library called the Open Asset Import Library for which I wrote several loaders. It reads 20+ file formats, including DirectX .x, Collada .dae, Milkshape .ms3d, Lightwave .obj, 3DSMax .3ds and a lot more... FBX support is in the works at the moment. This library might save you the hassle of writing your own loaders.

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I would consider inventing your own custom format that contains the data you need in the format you need it. You can make it little more than a binary dump of your vertex and index buffers and any other data fields will be little more that the fields of your model object.

If you do that then your models will be very fast and easy to load, and you won't have to include any complex and large API into your actual game code. I wouldn't feel happy to include large third party APIs directly into my game code.

You'll of course have to write a tool to convert your models and run it on all of them as part of your build, but at least then your converter can load lots of different kinds of file without bloating and slowing your engine and it doesn't matter if your tool gets "bloated" by including several different model APIs.

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Quote:
Original post by jbb
I would consider inventing your own custom format that contains the data you need in the format you need it. You can make it little more than a binary dump of your vertex and index buffers and any other data fields will be little more that the fields of your model object.

If you do that then your models will be very fast and easy to load, and you won't have to include any complex and large API into your actual game code. I wouldn't feel happy to include large third party APIs directly into my game code.

You'll of course have to write a tool to convert your models and run it on all of them as part of your build, but at least then your converter can load lots of different kinds of file without bloating and slowing your engine and it doesn't matter if your tool gets "bloated" by including several different model APIs.


For a final game run, I would also recommend a custom binary format, that loads in a blink of an eye, and could be quickly streamed and stuff.
But that's only for a final game(or techdemo). Using Assimp for a converting tool is very attractive solution, as it support many formats, that get exported from 3D packages, and you don't have to implement and maintain your own exporters. Assimp is very sweet and provides nice uniform data structure back to the application. I don't know how fast it actually is, parsing different models, but I guess, loading a binary dump from hard disk straight to the memory buffers will be faster. Also, when I compile it in release mode without boost, it's 14 MB big static lib ? That kind of concerns me including it into my application.
Maybe i'm doing something completely wrong with the compilation process ? Sorry for biasing the topic to Assimp, but if Schrompf(or someone else) could answer would be nice.

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Assimp is quite slow. The reasons for this are that most 3d file formats do not contain plain vertex data only, but alot of additional data, and mostly in a very non-straightforward manner. It takes time to parse textbased files, and it takes time to reorganise data and calculate derived data. The other reason for the relative slowliness is the post processing applied to the imported 3D scene. Things such as calculating tangent data for your vertices, triangulating polygons or creating index buffers also cost time.

Therefore I also suggest inventing your own file format for quick loading, just like everybody else here did. Assimp is not intended for loading assets on game startup. You can do this, but it will take time. A binary format specifically designed to hold the data you need in an engine-specific way will load much faster. Assimp is intended to be an importer library - read files once when your graphics artist delivered them and save them in your custom file format for quick every-day reading.

Concerning the size of the static library: I never actually looked for how large my Assimp build got. It's just a temporary file, after all... if you link statically. In my case the final executable got larger by only a few 100 kb, and that's what counts for me. I guess it's due to the usage of templates, but I never checked.

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Yeah, the lib is something like concatenation of the object files, and I guess it get's pretty fat(duplicate code ?) when templates are involved. But for a final linkage to the exe(or dll) most of it would be eliminated, so no big worries. :)

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I see. So basically what you guys are saying is that I should take something like AssImp, use that to load the files, convert them to my own format, and then use that new format to load into the game?

Is there a tutorial or something on that? Thinking of loading all of the animations and heirarchical data and skin information is going to make my head explode.

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I'm also using assimp as temporarily collada loader. The only problem is that the documentation is poor and the assimp viewer source is bit too complex just to search for a one example call. Using assimp requires patience. Took me a while to get an overview how to e.g. load the materials using that ::Get()

[Edited by - nvtroll on March 22, 2010 12:02:36 PM]

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Concerning getting started with Assimp: there's the official documentation which explains the basic usage at http://assimp.sourceforge.net/lib_html/usage.html and how to interpret the imported data at http://assimp.sourceforge.net/lib_html/data.html. There's also this little tutorial at http://wasaproject.net16.net/?p=175

In my defense: I, too, don't like the material system. I would have preferred a flat structure because of easier access and clean debuggability. But this one wasn't my decision and now my spare time is way too lacking to implement an easier path to access it.

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XMVECTOR upDirection = XMVectorSet(0, 1, 0, 0); g_ViewMatrix = DirectX::XMMatrixLookAtLH(eyePosition, focusPoint, upDirection); g_d3dDeviceContext->UpdateSubresource(g_d3dConstantBuffers[CB_Frame], 0, nullptr, &g_ViewMatrix, 0, 0); static float angle = 0.0f; angle += 90.0f * deltaTime; XMVECTOR rotationAxis = XMVectorSet(0, 1, 1, 0); g_WorldMatrix = DirectX::XMMatrixRotationAxis(rotationAxis, XMConvertToRadians(angle)); g_d3dDeviceContext->UpdateSubresource(g_d3dConstantBuffers[CB_Object], 0, nullptr, &g_WorldMatrix, 0, 0); } void Clear(const FLOAT clearColor[4], FLOAT clearDepth, UINT8 clearStencil) { g_d3dDeviceContext->ClearRenderTargetView(g_d3dRenderTargerView, clearColor); g_d3dDeviceContext->ClearDepthStencilView(g_d3dDepthStencilView, D3D11_CLEAR_DEPTH | D3D11_CLEAR_STENCIL, clearDepth, clearStencil); } void Present(bool vSync) { if (vSync) { g_d3dSwapChain->Present(1, 0); } else { g_d3dSwapChain->Present(0, 0); } } void Render() { assert(g_d3dDevice); assert(g_d3dDeviceContext); Clear(Colors::CornflowerBlue, 1.0f, 0); //IA const UINT vertexStride = sizeof(VertexPosColor); const UINT offset = 0; g_d3dDeviceContext->IASetVertexBuffers(0, 1, &g_d3dVertexBuffer, &vertexStride, &offset); g_d3dDeviceContext->IASetInputLayout(g_d3dInputLayout); g_d3dDeviceContext->IASetIndexBuffer(g_d3dIndexBuffer, DXGI_FORMAT_R16_UINT, 0); g_d3dDeviceContext->IASetPrimitiveTopology(D3D11_PRIMITIVE_TOPOLOGY_TRIANGLELIST); //VS g_d3dDeviceContext->VSSetShader(g_d3dVertexShader, nullptr, 0); g_d3dDeviceContext->VSGetConstantBuffers(0, NumConstantBuffers, g_d3dConstantBuffers); //RS g_d3dDeviceContext->RSSetState(g_d3dRasterizerState); g_d3dDeviceContext->RSSetViewports(1, &g_Viewport); //PS g_d3dDeviceContext->PSSetShader(g_d3dPixelShader, nullptr, 0); //OM g_d3dDeviceContext->OMSetRenderTargets(1, &g_d3dRenderTargerView, g_d3dDepthStencilView); g_d3dDeviceContext->OMSetDepthStencilState(g_d3dDepthStencilState, 1); //draw g_d3dDeviceContext->DrawIndexed(_countof(g_Indicies), 0, 0); Present(g_EnableVSync); } void CleanUp() { SafeRelease(g_d3dVertexShader); SafeRelease(g_d3dPixelShader); SafeRelease(g_d3dVertexBuffer); SafeRelease(g_d3dIndexBuffer); SafeRelease(g_d3dInputLayout); SafeRelease(g_d3dDepthStencilBuffer); for (size_t bufferID = 0; bufferID < NumConstantBuffers; bufferID++) { SafeRelease(g_d3dConstantBuffers[bufferID]); } SafeRelease(g_d3dDepthStencilState); SafeRelease(g_d3dRasterizerState); SafeRelease(g_d3dRenderTargerView); SafeRelease(g_d3dDepthStencilView); SafeRelease(g_d3dSwapChain); SafeRelease(g_d3dDeviceContext); SafeRelease(g_d3dDevice); }  
    • By MarcusAseth
      Hi guys, I'm trying to learn this stuff but running into some problems 😕
      I've compiled my .hlsl into a header file which contains the global variable with the precompiled shader data:
      //... // Approximately 83 instruction slots used #endif const BYTE g_vs[] = { 68, 88, 66, 67, 143, 82, 13, 236, 152, 133, 219, 113, 173, 135, 18, 87, 122, 208, 124, 76, 1, 0, 0, 0, 16, 76, 0, 0, 6, 0, //.... And now following the "Compiling at build time to header files" example at this msdn link , I've included the header files in my main.cpp and I'm trying to create the vertex shader like this:
      hr = g_d3dDevice->CreateVertexShader(g_vs, sizeof(g_vs), nullptr, &g_d3dVertexShader); if (FAILED(hr)) { return -1; } and this is failing, entering the if and returing -1.
      Can someone point out what I'm doing wrong? 😕 
    • By Toastmastern
      Hello everyone,
      After a few years of break from coding and my planet render game I'm giving it a go again from a different angle. What I'm struggling with now is that I have created a Frustum that works fine for now atleast, it does what it's supose to do alltho not perfect. But with the frustum came very low FPS, since what I'm doing right now just to see if the Frustum worked is to recreate the vertex buffer every frame that the camera detected movement. This is of course very costly and not the way to do it. Thats why I'm now trying to learn how to create a dynamic vertexbuffer instead and to map and unmap the vertexes, in the end my goal is to update only part of the vertexbuffer that is needed, but one step at a time ^^

      So below is my code which I use to create the Dynamic buffer. The issue is that I want the size of the vertex buffer to be big enough to handle bigger vertex buffers then just mPlanetMesh.vertices.size() due to more vertices being added later when I start to do LOD and stuff, the first render isn't the biggest one I will need.
      vertexBufferDesc.Usage = D3D11_USAGE_DYNAMIC; vertexBufferDesc.ByteWidth = mPlanetMesh.vertices.size(); vertexBufferDesc.BindFlags = D3D11_BIND_VERTEX_BUFFER; vertexBufferDesc.CPUAccessFlags = D3D11_CPU_ACCESS_WRITE; vertexBufferDesc.MiscFlags = 0; vertexBufferDesc.StructureByteStride = 0; vertexData.pSysMem = &mPlanetMesh.vertices[0]; vertexData.SysMemPitch = 0; vertexData.SysMemSlicePitch = 0; result = device->CreateBuffer(&vertexBufferDesc, &vertexData, &mVertexBuffer); if (FAILED(result)) { return false; } What happens is that the 
      result = device->CreateBuffer(&vertexBufferDesc, &vertexData, &mVertexBuffer); Makes it crash due to Access Violation. When I put the vertices.size() in it works without issues, but when I try to set it to like vertices.size() * 2 it crashes.
      I googled my eyes dry tonight but doesn't seem to find people with the same kind of issue, I've read that the vertex buffer can be bigger if needed. What I'm I doing wrong here?
       
      Best Regards and Thanks in advance
      Toastmastern
    • By yonisi
      Hi,
      I have a terrain engine where the terrain and water are on different grids. So I'm trying to render planar reflections of the terrain into the water grid. After reading some web pages and docs and also trying to learn from the RasterTek reflections demo and the small water bodies demo as well. What I do is as follows:
      1. Create a Reflection view matrix  - Technically I ONLY flip the camera position in the Y direction (Positive Y is up) and add to it 2 * waterLevel. Then I update the View matrix and I save that matrix for later. The code:
      void Camera::UpdateReflectionViewMatrix( float waterLevel ) { mBackupPosition = mPosition; mBackupLook = mLook; mPosition.y = -mPosition.y + 2.0f * waterLevel; //mLook.y = -mLook.y + 2.0f * waterLevel; UpdateViewMatrix(); mReflectionView = View(); } 2. I render the Terrain geometry to a 512x512 sized Render target by using the Reflection view matrix and an opposite culling (My Terrain is using front culling by nature so I'm using back culling for the Reflction render pass). Let me say that I checked with the Graphics debugger and the Reflection Render target looks "OK" at this stage (Picture attached). I don't know if the fact that the terrain is shown only at the top are of the texture is expected or not, but it seems OK.

      3. Render the Reflection texture into the water using projective texturing - I hope this step is OK code wise. Basically I'm sending to the shader the WorldReflectionViewProj matrix that was created at step 1 in order to use it for the projective texture coordinates, I then convert the position in the DS (Water and terrain are drawn with Tessellation) to the projective tex coords using that WorldReflectionViewProj matrix, then I sample the reflection texture after setting up the coordinates in the PS. Here is the code:
      //Send the ReflectionWorldViewProj matrix to the shader: XMStoreFloat4x4(&mPerFrameCB.Data.ReflectionWorldViewProj, XMMatrixTranspose( ( mWorld * pCam->GetReflectedView() ) * mProj )); //Setting up the Projective tex coords in the DS: Output.projTexPosition = mul(float4(worldPos.xyz, 1), g_ReflectionWorldViewProj); //Setting up the coords in the PS and sampling the reflection texture: float2 projTexCoords; projTexCoords.x = input.projTexPosition.x / input.projTexPosition.w / 2.0 + 0.5; projTexCoords.y = -input.projTexPosition.y / input.projTexPosition.w / 2.0 + 0.5; projTexCoords += normal.xz * 0.025; float4 reflectionColor = gReflectionMap.SampleLevel(SamplerClampLinear, projTexCoords, 0); texColor += reflectionColor * 0.25; I'll add that when compiling the PS I'm getting a warning on those dividing by input.projTexPosition.w for a possible float division by 0, I tried to add some offset or some minimum to the dividing term but that still not solved my issue.
      Here is the problem itself. At relatively flat view angles I'm seeing correct reflections (Or at least so it seems), but as I pitch the camera down, I'm seeing those artifacts which I have no idea where are coming from. I'm culling the terrain in the reflection render pass when it's lower than water height (I have heightmaps for that).
       
      Any help will be appreciated because I don't know what is wrong or where else to look.
    • By thmfrnk
      Hi,
      I am looking for a usefull commandline based texture compression tool with the rights to be able to ship with my application. It should have following caps:
      Supports all major image format as source files (jpeg, png, tga, bmp) Export as DDS Compression Formats BC1, BC2, BC3, BC4, BC7 I am actually using the nvdxt tool from Nvidia, but it does not support BC4 (which I need for one-channel 8bit textures). Everything else which I found wasn't really useful.
      Any suggestions?
      Thx
       
    • By trojanfoe
      I have been trying to create a BlendState for my UI text sprites so that they are both alpha-blended (so you can see them) and invert the pixel they are rendered over (again, so you can see them).
      In order to get alpha blending you would need:
      SrcBlend = SRC_ALPHA DestBlend = INV_SRC_ALPHA and in order to have inverted colours you would need something like:
      SrcBlend = INV_DEST_COLOR DestBlend = INV_SRC_COLOR and you can't have both.
      So I have come to the conclusion that it's not possible; am I right?
    • By Royma
      In traditional way, it needs 6 passes for a point light and many passes for cascaded shadow mapping to generate shadow maps. Recently I learnt a method that using a geometry shader to generate all the shadow maps in one pass.I specify a render target and a depth-stencil buffer which are both Texture2dArray in DirectX11.It looks much better than the traditional way I think.But after I implemented it, I found cascaded shadow mapping runs much slower than the traditional way.The fps slow down from 60 to 35.I don't know why.I guess may be I should do some culling or maybe the geometry shader is not efficient.
      I want to know the reason that I reduced the drawcalls from 8 to 1, but it runs slow down.Should I abandon this method or is there any way to optimize this method to run more efficiently than multi-pass rendering?
      Here is the gs code:

      [maxvertexcount(24)]
      void main(
          triangle DepthGsIn input[3] : SV_POSITION,
          inout TriangleStream< DepthPsIn > output
      )
      {
          for (uint k = 0; k < 8; ++k)
          {
              DepthPsIn element;
              element.RTIndex = k;
              for (uint i = 0; i < 3; ++i)
              {
                  float2 shadowSlopeBias = calculateShadowSlopeBias(input.normal, -g_cameras[k].world[1]);
                  float shadowBias = shadowSlopeBias.y * g_cameras[k].shadowMapParameters.x + g_cameras[k].shadowMapParameters.y;
                  element.position = input.position + shadowBias * g_cameras[k].world[1];
                  element.position = mul(element.position, g_cameras[k].viewProjection);
                  element.depth = element.position.z / element.position.w;
                  
                  output.Append(element);
              }
              output.RestartStrip();
          }
      }
       
    • By savail
      Hey,
      There are a few things which confuse me regarding DirectX 11 and HLSL shaders in general. I would be very grateful for your advice!
      1. Let's take for example a scene which invokes 2 totally separate pipeline render passes interchangeably. I understand I need to bind correct shaders for each of the render pass and potentially blend/depth or rasterizer state but what about resources such as Constant Buffers, Shader Resource Views and Unordered Access Views? Assuming that the second render pass uses none of the resources used by the first pass, do I still need to unbind the resources and clean pipeline state after first pass? Or is it ok to leave pipeline with unbound garbage since anything I'd need to bind for second pass would overwrite contents in the appropriate register slots anyway?
      2. Is it a good practice to assign register slots manually to all resources in HLSL?
      3. I thought about assigning manually register slots for every distinct render pass up to the maximum slot limit if neccessary. For example in 1 render pass I invoke 3 CS's, 2 VS's and 2 PS's and for all resources used by those shaders I try to fill as many register slots as neccessary and potentially reuse many times the same slot in shaders sharing the same resource. I was wondering if there is any performance penalty or gain when I bind all of my needed resources at the start of render pass and never gonna have to do it again until next render pass? - this means potentially binding a lot of registers and having excessive number of bound resources for every shader that is run.
      4. Is it a good practice to create a separate include file for every resource that occurs in >= 2 shader files or is it better to duplicate the declarations? In first case, the code is imo easier to maintain and edit but might be harder to read if there's too many includes. I've come up with a compromise between these 2 like this: create a separate include file for every CB that occurs in >= 2 shader files and a separate include file for every sampler I ever need to use. All other resources like srvs and uavs I prefer to duplicate in multiple shaders because they take much less space than CB for example... I'm not sure however if that's a good practice
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